Actor Christoph Waltz is a perfect case study in how quickly one’s fortunes can change. Less than half a decade ago, he was a relative unknown outside of Germany, where he made his living mainly as a television actor. After a head-turning, Oscar-winning performance in Inglourious Basterds in 2009, Waltz has since exploded onto the Hollywood scene and become a prestige actor much in demand.
This kind of fame and respect has allowed Waltz to pick and choose his upcoming projects. One of the most interesting of these is the just-announced True Crimes – a thriller based on a bizarre, real-life murder mystery that took place in Poland.
The Hollywood Reporter reports that Waltz has signed on to play the lead in the ripped-from-the-headlines mystery/thriller True Crimes. Waltz will play Jacek Wroblewski, a police officer assigned to solve a seemingly perfect murder. The film is being produced by Brett Ratner (Tower Heist), John Cheng (Mirror Mirror), and David Gerson (Milk). As of the moment, Waltz is the only announced cast member and the movie lacks an attached director.
True Crimes is based on the very real case of Krystian Bala, a Polish author who was convicted of the murder of Dariusz Janiszewski in 2007. Janiszewski was found dead in 2000, but the case lay moribund for some years before Detective Wroblewski uncovered a series of clues that pointed back to Bala. Most strangely, some of these clues appeared in one of Bala’s published novels, as if he were surreptitiously gloating about his crime to the world.
Like its eventual director, the actual content, tone, and style of True Crimes is currently unknown. It will certainly be interesting to see what direction the production takes. Will it be a low-fi, historically faithful procedural such as 1995's Citizen X? Or will it take a darker, more David Fincher-esque turn, a la Zodiac? The latter may be closer to the mark, as the announcement hints that Wroblewski’s investigation will take him into Poland’s seedy underworld.
Whatever the shape of the end product, it’s heartening to see Waltz playing the protagonist in True Crimes. His spectacular turn as Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds threatened to typecast him as a typical foreign-accented villain – something much alleviated by his second Oscar-grabbing performance in Django Unchained. Though Waltz is wonderfully engaging as a bad guy, he’s such a charming actor that it would be a shame to watch him get bogged down in a niche. We look forward to seeing what he – and True Crimes – have to offer.
True Crimes currently has no definitive release date. Stay tuned to Screen Rant for all the relevant details.